“Oh my God, not another attack,” is all I could say when a news alert from ABC News flashed on my iPhone screen yesterday. It had happened again. Yet another terror strike to the heart of the American ethos, on Patriots Day. This time the blow was struck in Boston during the Boston Marathon, of all events in space and time.
We have become a nation living on the edge of fear from the enemy without and the enemy within our shores. Our national security community has made it virtually impossible for the terrorists from abroad to enter the United States since that fateful day in 2001. However, we have not been as diligent in searching and destroying the domestic enemy.
Perhaps it is because our collective sense of freedom, embodied in the Constitution of the United States of America, will not allow for the wholesale suspension of freedoms that is required in order to stop the insurgence of rebels. Today’s rebels describe themselves in lofty terms of the “patriots” who defeated the English tyrant King George in the late 1700s.
Last week the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in Montgomery, Ala., issued a report to United States Attorney Eric Holder that said an alarming number of Americans are turning violently against their government.
In its letter the SPLC’s president, Richard J. Cohen, told Holder: “As in the period before the Oklahoma City bombing, we now are seeing ominous threats from those who believe that the government is poised to take their guns.”
The SPLC which has been monitoring hate crimes and hate groups since its co-founders Morris Dees and Julian Bond took on the KKK in the early 1970s, said their research has documented nearly 1,400 patriot groups in 2012. This represents an 813 percent increase over the number of groups in existence in 2008, the year President Barack Obama was elected as the nation’s first African American president.
According to the SPLC report in 2011, “law enforcement agencies in the US reported a total of 6,222 hate crime incidents. Of these, about 46.9 percent were racially motivated crimes and about 12 percent centered around the victim’s actual or presumed ethnic or national identity. Nearly 21 percent stemmed from sexual-orientation bias and 20 percent by religious bigotry. About one percent of the nation’s hate crime stemmed from bias against the disabled.”
Cohen said that SPLC’s data is supported by agencies independent of their own research: “Our data as well as that of independent researchers reflects that the country has seen an increase in right-wing domestic terrorism as the number of hate and antigovernment groups has increased in recent years. A new study by West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center, for example, found that right-wing violence in the 2000-2011 periods surpassed that of the 1990s by a factor of four. See Arie Perliger, Challengers from the Sidelines: Understanding America’s Violent Far-Right, Combating Terrorism Center, Jan. 15, 2013.”
This writer recalls what developed into an eerie telephone call he made as a Fellow with Organizing for America, in Naples, Fla., last fall. Organizing for America was a group seeking to identify voters who were sympathetic to Obama.
The call was placed to a registered voter. When the citizen heard that the caller was representing Organizing for America, he queried: “Organizing for America, what are you organizing America for? Is it to kill the N******, the Jews or the Muslems? That’s the only reason to be organizing America, which one is it or is it all three…”
Last year, Congress, through the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA), authorized the president under section 1031 to declare the United States or certain sections of it, under certain circumstances, as a battlefield and authorize the military to make arrests and detain Americans without bringing criminal charges against them or bringing them to trial.
According to several emergency management personnel, yesterday’s bombing at the Boston Marathon looked to them like their tours of duty In Iraq and Afghanistan during the height of those wars.
Might it be time, should it be establish the Boston bombing is an act of domestic terrorism, for Obama to do the unthinkable and pursuant to law, authorize the military to round up this band of “Patriots” bent on killing and maiming American citizens as an act of war against the democratically elected government?
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